Recovery is funded by a mix of federal and state resources.
They include funds approved by the governor, state Legislature, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Federal Emergency Management Agency.
For a full list of resources, visit the recovery funding page.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to help communities recover from natural disasters.
CDBG-DR approved projects support disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization. CDBG-DR funds can also be used to match other federal program allocations, such as FEMA Hazard Mitigation and FEMA Public Assistance, both of which require a 25% local match.
CDBG-DR projects may include the following; however, it should be noted that projects are subject to what is allowed by the applicable Federal Register Notice – the publication that governs the specific CDBG-DR award:
- Housing recovery;
- Restore, develop, replace, and/or improve housing (new construction, rehabilitation, single or multi-family, owner or rental);
- Provide other housing assistance services;
- Offer buyouts of damaged or threatened properties;
- Assist in relocation of persons and households;
- Senior or special needs housing;
- Rebuild or replace infrastructure and public facilities;
- Roads, bridges, stormwater management systems;
- Waterlines, electric service;
- Community centers, schools, shelters, parks;
- Assistance to affected business owners;
- Address job losses, impacts to tax revenues;
- Job training and workforce development;
- Loans and grants to businesses;
- Improvements to commercial and rental districts.
A number of activities are considered ineligible for CDBG-DR funds, including:
- Projects that do not correspond to disaster-related impacts;
Restrictions as identified in the appropriation law;
Ineligible per CDBG regulations unless waived, e.g. vertical construction;
Does not meet national CDBG objectives;
HUD policies may restrict the type of projects allowed, e.g. non-public facilities in Lava Hazard Zones 1 & 2.
More information on HUD's CDBG-DR Program can be found here.
The County anticipates receiving $83.84 million through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Eligible state or local governments are allocated funds through a Congressional appropriation, but must also submit a variety of forms and documents to obtain access to these funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. From the date of the Federal Register Notice – which details all the program rules, regulations and guidelines – state or local governments have up to 120 days to compile the following deliverables:
- A Certification Plan, which shows that the state or local government has the systems and processes in place to manage grant funds and guard against duplication of benefits, fraud and abuse.
- An Implementation Plan, which details that the state or local government has a plan to build the additional staffing capacity needed to implement the grant funds.
- An Action Plan, which details the disaster impacts, unmet needs, programs and projects identified for grant implementation.
- Public Comment Period. The applicant is required to make the Action Plan available for public review and comment.
- Action Plan Approval. HUD must accept and approve the Action Plan.
- Grant Agreement. The awardee and HUD execute a grant agreement detailing disbursement of grant funds and monthly reporting requirements.
- DRGR Plan. A detailed spending plan is uploaded to HUD's grant management platform for approval prior to the initial draw down of CDBG-DR funds.
It is unknown precisely when the Federal Register Notice will be published. Upon release of the Federal Register Notice, Hawai‘i County will be eligible to apply for CDBG-DR funding. Funds may be awarded following a 3-4 month process with multiple deliverables, including approval of the County’s Action Plan, acceptance of the Action Plan within the HUD reporting and financial system (DRGR) and execution of a grant agreement with HUD.
To meet the impending requirements, the County is engaged in the following activities:
- Implementation of a Recovery Interim Strategy and Action Planning Process.
- Development of a Recovery Strategic Plan, including an economic recovery component.
- Engagement of the broader Puna community to prioritize established General Plan and Community Development Plan (CDP) goals, followed by defined objectives.
- Recovery scenarios and strategies relative to risk.
- Implementation of household, community and business surveys, and case management for continued outreach to impacted families and understanding of unmet needs.
- Staff capacity-building and training specific to CDBG-DR requirements.
A 2013 amendment to the Stafford Act added Section 428, which authorizes "alternative procedures" under the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program.
Funding authorized through this program can be used to replace infrastructure impacted by a disaster or for alternative infrastructure projects. This flexibility allows applicants to use funds in a way that best meets their needs for recovery, long-term resiliency and future preparedness.
Hawai‘i County is seeking FEMA 428 money for road, water and park infrastructure projects. FEMA funds require a 25% County match.
Approval of funding remains pending.
The County is in the process of creating a voluntary buyout program as a means to assist residents with relocating away from the disaster area and to reduce risk from future eruptions on Kilauea's lower East Rift Zone. Buyout programs are used to mitigate risk from other natural disasters, such as floods and fires.
The County is working to secure Federal funding to finance the program and will publicize opportunities for individuals to apply when the process is established.
Funding sources being pursued include the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The County anticipates receiving $83.84 million from HUD for disaster recovery.
The County anticipates using pre-disaster value as the basis for determining the amount offered through a buyout program. Insurance payouts and other forms of disaster aid may deducted to ensure no duplication of funds. It's unknown at this time when a buyout program could be started or when funds to support it would be received.
- Verified impacts from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption include:
- 13.7 sq mi / 35.5 sq km / 8,488 acres inundated with lava
- 875 acres new land created along shoreline
- Kīlauea summit collapse
- Erupted a volume of 1 cubic kilometer of lava; two thirds from Fissure 8
- 716 structures destroyed, including approximately 200 primary residences
- 3,000 residents displaced
- Estimated $236.5 million in damages to roads, waterlines and facilities (e.g. parks)
- Small businesses decreased revenues and closures
- $27.9 million farm losses resulting in decreased agriculture and floriculture production
- Decreased tourism revenue and adjustments to marketing and products
- Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 4-month closure, source of $222 million a year in economic influence
Infrastructure & Rebuilding
Lava from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 2 miles of Pohoiki Road. Hawai‘i County is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair or replace it. FEMA is reviewing the funding request for Pohoiki Road and other lava-inundated county roadways, as allowed under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. FEMA covers 75% of the cost of eligible projects.
There is no timeline for restoration of the road. Plans to restore Pohoiki Road will depend on funding and consistency with the Recovery Strategic Plan.
As of December 2019, the following steps have been taken:
- Surveying: Drone survey complete; to be supplemented by ground survey before and during construction.
- Design: On-going.
- Right of Entry acquisition on-going, approximately 60% complete.
- Permitting: On-going
- Budget: Coordinating/negotiating with Federal Emergency Management Agency
- In total, 3.16 miles of Highway 132 was covered by lava. The Department of Public Works began to re-establish access on June 10, 2019, with funding from the Federal Highway Administration. The road reopened on Nov. 27, 2019. For more detail, visit Road Access.
About 700 feet of Lighthouse Road was covered by lava, and the county is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair it. FEMA is reviewing the funding request for Lighthouse Road and other lava-inundated county roadways, such as Pohoiki Road, as allowed under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program.
FEMA covers 75% of the cost of eligible projects. There is no timeline for restoring Lighthouse Road at this time.
Some residents have asked if non-FEMA funds can be used for Lighthouse Road restoration. In this case, the County would have to remove the project from the Section 428 application, which could delay the FEMA approval process.
Lava from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 4 miles of Highway 137. Hawai‘i County is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair or replace it. FEMA is reviewing the funding request for Highway 137 and other lava-inundated county roadways, as allowed under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. FEMA covers 75% of the cost of eligible projects.
In December 2018, the County opened a temporary road over less than 1 mile of lava flows covering the highway near MacKenzie State Recreation Area. This provided access to Isaac Hale Beach Park and some private lands in the area.
Plans to restore Highway 137 will depend on funding and consistency with the Recovery Strategic Plan.
The 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 13 miles of public roads in lower Puna.
- Work to restore Highway 132 began in June 2019, with funding reimbursement expected from the Federal Highway Administration.
- A temporary road was opened over some of the lava flows crossing Highway 137 in late 2018 to restore access to Isaac Hale Beach Park.
- Hawaiʻi County is seeking funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to restore or replace other impacted public roads under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. FEMA would cover 75% of the costs, but it is not yet known when the funds will be approved.
Decisions about opening additional roads depend on securing funding from FEMA and completion of the Recovery Strategic Plan.
Public money can't be used for private infrastructure.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Water Supply lost about 14.5 miles of pipe as a result of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The water line went to Isaac Hale Beach Park via Pohoiki Road and followed Highway 137 to the Kapoho subdivisions.
Water Supply has no plans at this time to restore the water pipes since the infrastructure will not survive the high ground temperatures in the eruption area. Testing of a private well near Pohoiki Road showed the water to be brackish and not suitable for consumption or use at Isaac Hale Beach Park.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is exploring other ways to provide water to Isaac Hale Beach Park.
Following the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption, a Risk Assessment was commissioned by the County of Hawaiʻi. The stated outcome of this assessment is to understand hazard risks relative to vulnerability to inform long-term planning and decision-making.
Image via PDC: Volcanic Multi-hazard Risk Equation
- A hazard is defined as any agent that can cause harm or damage to humans, property, or the environment. Volcanic hazards include: lava flows, eruptive fissures, cinder cones, pit craters, graben and caldera faults, volcanic gas, and earthquakes.
- A risk is defined as the probability that exposure to a hazard will lead to a negative consequence.
- Vulnerability is the extent to which a person, household, business, community, or other social entity is likely to face negative outcomes from the exposure to environmental hazards and extreme events.
- Vulnerability factors can include housing and transportation, socioeconomic status, access to information and lifelines, and household composition.
For more information, visit our Documents page.
There are three main documents being produced to guide recovery following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption: a Recovery Strategic Plan, Volcanic Risk Assessment, and an Economic Recovery Plan.
Drafts of these documents were produced in late December after more than a year of community engagement, which helped to identify recovery strategies and community priorities.
As of January, Hawai‘i County’s Kīlauea eruption recovery team was further developing the drafts ahead of additional community stakeholder input.
Community engagement remains ongoing and will continue through the planning process and beyond.
What do the plans do?
The Recovery Strategic Plan facilitates recovery in the short and long term, and will identify recovery strategies and projects that will support impacted areas while mitigating risks from volcanic hazards.
The Volcanic Risk Assessment takes a look at all volcanic hazards across Hawai‘i Island and identifies recommendations for mitigation. The recovery plan and risk assessment are developed with the help of Tetra Tech.
The Economic Recovery Plan looks at economic damages caused by the 2018 eruption and Hurricane Lane and provides recommendations for improving the economy of Puna and the island as a whole. This plan is drafted with the help of the Institute for Sustainable Development.
The disaster recovery task force, an advisory group consisting of County and community representation, will be briefed on the draft plans at its next meeting in late January.
Afterward, the recovery team anticipates presenting briefings to community groups in February to gather additional input. Plans are expected to be finished in late February or in March.
The recovery management structure and decision-making framework was designed to support both planning and implementation phases of recovery.
The process includes a disaster recovery task force – an advisory group consisting of representatives from the County administration, County Council, and Community members – that is responsible for vetting proposed recovery strategies, which will be decided upon by the administration or County Council. Task Force members are assigned as co-chairs for different recovery support function working groups. These are recovery categories outlined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
A Housing Agency consisting of members of the County Council will oversee adoption of an Action Plan for the use of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
For more information on the planning process, visit the planning page.
Recovery is a long-term, iterative process – meaning that recovery takes place in multiple phases, with each phase informing activities in subsequent phases. Recovery can take anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on the scale and duration of the disaster.
The 2018 Kīlauea Eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone was unprecedented in scale and speed, resulting in extensive displacement of families and businesses, and the disruption of businesses throughout the Island of Hawaiʻi.
Recovery began in June 2018 and will involve continuing efforts to meet immediate and near-term needs, as well as long-term planning and implementation.
Events and impacts of this magnitude result in a "new normal" and present an opportunity to refresh and renew families, communities, and the environment.
Trespassers are entering my property to view the new lava fields and features or to cross the lava to access the coastline. What should I do to protect myself and my property from trespassers and liability?
There are a few actions you can take to protect your property from trespassers and liability:
- Private property should be clearly marked with 'No Trespassing' signs.
- Reports of trespassing should be reported promptly to the police along with available evidence and a request to press charges.
- Consult with an attorney to understand the extent of your liabilities and possible options.
- Disaster recovery takes place after an emergency and is characterized by actions taken to return to normalcy, secure financial assistance to pay for repairs, and restore individual and collective well-being. During recovery, it is also important to identify and implement actions to prepare for and mitigate (lessen) the effects of future disasters.
Given there is no current emergency proclamation with specific prohibitions, all activities fall under laws and regulations that normally apply.
In this case, flight regulations are subject to the Federal Aviation Administration drone rules and regulations, and individual property rights regulate where drones can take off and land.
Visitors and members of the press are advised to obtain the proper permissions before flying drones over the affected area.
Hawaiʻi Island is comprised of 5 (five) volcanoes:
- Kīlauea (active, last eruption: 2018)
- Mauna Loa (active, last eruption: 1984)
- Hualalai (active, last eruption: 1801)
- Mauna Kea (dormant)
- Kohala (extinct)